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Lecture 1 | Intro to Political Science

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Political Science
Jeffrey Kopstein

POL101Y1 Y – Lecture 1 | Intro to Political Science September 9, 2013 Big Themes of Class  Democracy, Dictatorship, War and Peace  The point of social science is to try to make sense of the world we live in  How do we make sense of it?  By simplifying, by focusing on what matters and ignoring what doesn’t o That way the word is less scary Democracy and War  Is the world becoming more democratic and more peaceful? o  Francis Fukuyama o Berlin Wall falls – huge world importance  End of history  Summer 1989 o Berlin Wall falls o End of Communism o End of Europe being ruled by Tyranny  Hegel o German philosopher o History is understandable o Structure to history History of Human Consciousness  History of philosophy o Human capacity for understanding the world  Not kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers, or celebrities: they steal ideas, big ideas  When you see a war, what you are seeing is people dying but what’s really happening out there is a clash of ideas o Clash of ideas – what people go to war for  Industry, economy, religious practice are material manifestation but what’s really going on is the idea that inform those practices Ideas and the organization of human society  Really big ideas are those that organize human society  Ancient society  Medieval society  Liberal Democratic state o Rights o Elections o Toleration 1 POL101Y1 Y – Lecture 1 | Intro to Political Science September 9, 2013 Hegel and Liberal State  German is going to lose to the French  End of History o No more big ideas, reached the ultimate idea  Hegel and the Battle of Jena: victory of “liberty, equality”  Theory alone that helps us transcend the poverty of the human condition – Philosophy of the Right  The big, really big ideas – liberal democracy  For each age, you study human consciousness Fukuyama  Hegel was right but he was a bit off o ~150 years  Not 1806 but 1989 o Last man standing – liberal democracy  No alternative  Big challenges to liberal democracy had been defeated in realm of ideas (fascism and communism) – THE REAL REALM  World is becoming more democratic and peaceful Challengers  Kim Jong Un o Rules by fear not conviction o Obey liberal democracy because its legitimate  Yes, communism still there but outside of Cuba, North Korea or the steps of Sidney Smith Hall, nobody willing to die for it or betray their country for it. A POWERLESS IDEA!  Christian, Jewish, Islamic fundamentalism: yes they are there but they are not universal and therefore not a real challenge Where does that leave us?  World of peace, trade, democracy  Yes, we still have wars but they are not wars of big ideas, or if they are liberalism wins  Examples of Russia o Putin is a thorn in the side  We should look for big ideological challengers  But in this sense, history is over 2 POL101Y1 Y – Lecture 1 | Intro to Political Science September 9, 2013 Clash of Civilizations? An Examination of Huntington’s arguments What would world order look like after the
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